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Ducali Pizza: Nachos for the Pizza Inclined, or Vice Versa

28 Mar

This week, we dip our toe once more into the deceptively turbulent waters of Italian Nachos.  We’ve had mediocre ones at Anchovies in the South End, a delicious-if-not-quite-strictly-Italian version at Vito’s Tavern, and a rather disastrous attempt at making our own (and we’d prefer to just never again discuss what happened when we actually ate nachos in Italy).  When we heard that Ducali Pizza in the North End had a their own version, the “Nachos Italiano”, we had to give it a try as well.

Despite its proximity to the bromageddon that is the North Station area, we found Ducali to be pleasantly empty the evening we popped in (be sure to check the Garden schedule in advance before making a trip). Along with beers from their small but varied list, we made a beeline for the aforementioned nachos, described as “Pizza dough chips baked with mozzarella cheese, hot pepper and salami, served with a spicy tomato sauce.”

  • Appearance: (8) Yet another in our occasional series, “These don’t look very much like nachos at all.”  But boy did they look tempting…
  • Quality of Ingredients: (8) The crisp flatbread “chips”, dusted with parmesan, were quite tasty. We equally enjoyed the house-pickled peppers and the salami slices.  There was disagreement over whether the tomato sauce was accurately billed as “spicy”, as half of us found it rather bland.  In the end, all of the ingredients were on par with what you would find on a well-made pizza…just in different forms.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) While the presentation was visually appealing, it led to the cheese running to the end of all the chips. There was also a layer of a few chips underneath it all that had no cheese whatsoever.  The chips were so tasty on their own though, that we didn’t mind all that much, and they were perfect for scooping up the marinara sauce. Overall, the moderate cheese coating and sauce on the side led to an overall drier nacho experience than we typically prefer.
  • Price: (9) At $8 these were very reasonably priced for their quality, and split between two people, a good half of a meal.
  • Overall: 32/40.  These nachos are the best “authentic” Italian nachos we have encountered in Boston (so, better than Anchovies).  We recommend making a trip, but if you are going to partake bring some friends and make sure you leave room for their excellent pizza!

 

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Lone Star Taco Bar: When You Wish Upon A Nacho, pt. II: Dreams Really Do Come True Edition

11 Mar

Once upon a time, in a haze of beer and a few too many truffled gorgonzola fries, we waxed slightly poetic about our love for Deep Ellum, and our torrid fantasies about just how good their nachos might be.  And now, it seems our dreams have (somewhat) come true, as Deep Ellum has recently expanded and opened up the Lone Star Taco Barright next door, complete with nachos on the menu. Have our dreams come true??
Lone Star is indeed the South-of-the-Border sister of Deep Ellum, complete with the exceedingly dim lighting, delicious cocktails, and a bovine head on the wall (though stuffed, not skeletal). The “Victory Club Nachos” came with little descriptive text, but considering that they were $5, we waited in nervous anticipation for them to arrive. Would they live up to our fantasies, or would they be little more than cheese over chips? And then, at long last, they arrived:Image

  • Appearance: (4) Excuse me, waiter? There must be some mistake, you’ve brought me a salad!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) Upon closer investigation, the vegetable on top was not lettuce but sliced Napa cabbage, which was…better than expected.  With the Cotija cheese on top and some crema sauce underneath, it was almost edible on its own as a salad.  Underneath, we appreciated the thick housemade chips and pickled jalapenos. There were a few small dabs of guacamole, but we found them to be slightly funky and overripe tasting.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7.5) There was a fair amount of cheese and the sour cream sauce added to the distribution, but the lid of cabbage cooled the cheese unusually fast, leaving it in thick slabs.  Still, just about every chip has something tasty on it.
  • Price: (10) For $5 these were an exceptionally filling snack for two.
  • Overall: 30.5/40.  If you make a trip to Lone Star, these nachos are definitely worth your time, cash, and stomach space.  Sometimes dreams really do come true…

Phoenix Landing: We Nix Returning

1 Mar

Leap Day, a once-every-four-years occasion, found us engaging in a once-in-a-lifetime-is-enough activity, nachos at the Phoenix Landing.  Given our previous limited experiences with this bar, all we knew going in was that 1) the drinks are strong and 2) around 1am the dance floor starts to feel like you’re in a sweaty washing machine.  So when we showed up for Geeks Who Drink trivia and saw these on the menu, we assumed…the nachos must be great, right?

  • Appearance: (6) Nothing too exciting going on here.  Fresh jalapenos were the only item to catch the eye.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) The chef surely didn’t tax himself much, beyond using a can opener. The chili bore a striking resemblance to taco beef, or, according to one reviewer, Manwich. While the chips were decidedly from a bag, they were thicker and saltier than your average Tostito. The one non-packaged item on the nachos was the diced tomato in the salsa…or so we think.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) Early on it was apparent that there would be distribution issues. Many of the underlying chips were broken, and there was not nearly enough cheese, nor was it evenly dispersed. Even the landslide of chili/Manwich was hard to get in one’s mouth due to the broken chips, and a lack of flatware due to our flustered waiter.
  • Price: (6) At $10, standard.
  • Overall: 22/40. Best leave the Phoenix Landing to what it does best– Guinness pints and Euro Football, and Midweek Techno.